My Spartan story: Melony Gould

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When I was nine years old, and living in rural Uganda, I met a lecturer from the University of Kent who was teaching at a local secondary school. At the time I enjoyed running around and causing chaos, but she taught me how to focus and construct geometric shapes, which I instantly loved! She asked me to assist her in teaching a workshop at the school - with girls much older than me - and I realised I was good at maths! We stayed in touch, and ten years later I enrolled at the University of Kent to study Mathematics with that lecturer. She lit the spark, and I knew early on I wanted to work with systems and people.

 

After graduation I applied to become a retail banker for a high street bank in Soho, London. I knew I had the education for the role, but that I’d have to upskill myself significantly. I had to sell the interviewer the idea that if he invested in me, I’d invest too and pay back his trust in me. He hired me and was the second person to change the course of my life.

 

At the bank, I learned a huge amount working with members of community from all walks of life, from the very successful to those at rock bottom who don’t have the power to fix things themselves. You see people’s lives transform; you see them buy their first homes, budget for having children, and you meet their relatives when they have passed away. You get to celebrate with people and grieve with them. It was a huge privilege, and I learned to always see the good in people and their ability to become the best version of themselves.

 

After six years, and changing a lot of lives, I decided I wanted to progress but found the routes at the bank didn’t suit me. I’d completed a Masters in financial mathematics, but I wanted to keep learning and I wanted change. I found Sparta Global, and I learned about their dedicated programme for a consultancy client. In a million years I wouldn’t have considered myself able to do a highly technical role like that, but it ticked all of my boxes: working with systems and people. I realised I had a lot of learning to do, which was both exciting and scary – a feeling I remembered from the other times my life had changed for the better.

 

When I interviewed with my client, I tried my best to connect with the interviewer and it was eye-opening as I was expecting a very frightening interview! I crammed as much research in, but I was surprised by how effortlessly it flowed and how comfortable I felt talking to this very senior person who made me feel totally at ease. I asked him how he knew he’d met his objectives of the day, and he answered that it’s when the team that work for him have had a good day. It was such a simple ethos, but so necessary. For a third time, I knew this person was changing my career, and my life.

 

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you need to take a leap. You just have to! You can either stick with something that will give you the same returns you’re used to, or you can decide to do something that scares and excites you. When you’re comfortable you stop learning, and you start depending on that comfort. You miss the side of you that pushed you forward, the excitement and the fright in trying something new.  We spend most of our lives working, and our work should mean something. That feeling of ‘I did something amazing today’ is powerful, and as life-changing as a higher salary. I am so pleased that I remembered how much I enjoy that feeling, and how much I can accomplish when I jump in headfirst.

 

Now in my role as a Test Automation Engineer, I’m excited – and a little bit terrified! - to find out how I’ll fit into this new world and learning how I can create success and power and beauty in the work I do. I can’t wait to see who I become in this role.